Great pictures, Nick, Vince - but not that great an event. After last week’s botched plot to oust Nick Clegg and install Vince Cable as party leader, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Business Secretary thought it would be a grand idea to be photographed together in a Piccadilly bar to publicise their plans to help pub tenants and to show the world that they are best mates really, despite everything.
But the problem with telling photographers that there is a photo opportunity on offer is that the snappers pass the message on to the writing hacks, and hacks are apt to turn up uninvited to ask unwelcome questions.
A whole tribe of them assembled outside the Queen’s Head, wanting to ask about last week’s fiasco in which Vince Cables’s old friend and ally, the Lib Dem peer Lord Oakeshott, resigned from the party after being exposed as the bankroller of a damaging opinion poll.
Clegg’s people, determined that nothing should disturb their peaceful photocall, locked them out, creating a scene reminiscent of the climax of Shaun of the Dead, the spoof horror movie in which the heroes and heroines are trapped in a pub with a horde of demented zombies in the street outside.
The frustrated hacks took to banging on the windows, vainly demanding entry. The door was firmly barred even to Vince Cable’s paid special adviser. Unfortunately for those inside, there was no cellar down which they could escape the zombies, nor even a back door, so when the event was over, the hapless politicians had no choice but to step outside and fight their way through the maddened horde.
In typical Twitter fashion, no press event foul-up is complete without its own hashtag, with the mishap gave birth to #LibDemPubs, which found itself trending in the UK within a matter of minutes.
The Party Of Inn #LibDemPubs— Peter Mannion 'MP' (@PeterMannionMP) June 3, 2014
The Lost Deposit #LibDempubs— Chris Deerin (@chrisdeerin) June 3, 2014
The Royal Oakeshott #LibDemPubs— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) June 3, 2014
Labour's own press account even took some time out to gloat at the press-without-press event, although it was only a few week's ago that this unfortunate picture was taken of Ed Miliband trying to eat a bacon sandwich.
It's official: The Lib Dems can't even organise a piss up in a brewery.— Labour Press Team (@labourpress) June 3, 2014